KANNAPOLIS, N.C. – For the second night in a row, the Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (54-50) fell at the hands of a comeback by the Down East Wood Ducks (57-43) with a, 6-4, loss Thursday.
With the defeat, Kannapolis drops back to below .500 in the second half, now trailing five games behind the Charleston RiverDogs.
LHP Shane Murphy tossed a smooth four innings in his 17th start of the season, striking out five and allowing one run on four hits. RHP Ethan Hammerberg followed up in the fifth and sixth with two shutout innings and three punchouts.
Jordan Sprinkle produced in two different occasions for the Cannon Ballers with two RBI singles in his second game back in the lineup. The 2022 fourth-round selection put Kannapolis in the lead, 1-0, and, 2-1, in the first and fifth innings to anchor the offense early for the home side.
The Cannon Ballers scooped a pair of, at the time, insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning from a Jhoneiker Betancourt solo home run and a Jacob Gonzalez sacrifice fly to push Kannapolis ahead, 4-1.
RHP Billy Seidl (L, 4-3) entered the ninth inning in search of another save and the Ballers’ second win of the week, but a barrage of offense from the visiting Wood Ducks did Kannapolis in. Quincy Scott’s third hit of the night in the top of the ninth inning cut the home team’s lead to, 4-2, followed quickly by a JoJo Blackmon RBI double to slice the lead to 4-3. In heartbreaking fashion, after an intentional walk of Konner Piotto, Miguel Villarroel tied the game at, 4-4, with a sacrifice fly to right field. One batter later, Devin Hurdle doubled down the right field line to plate two runs, handing Down East their first, and only needed, lead at, 6-4.
RHP Tanner McDougal will get the nod to start game four of the six game series between the Ballers and the Wood Ducks on Friday night. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m., with Kannapolis wearing special jerseys designed by a patient at Atrium Health’s Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital. The first 1,000 youth to arrive at the ballpark Friday will receive a replica of the specially designed jersey.
Fans can purchase tickets for any remaining home games at kcballers.com or at the F&M Bank Box Office located at Atrium Health Ballpark.